Return to Fancy Gym

Excitement! Sweat! Nostalgia! The lovely Lainey gave me a guest pass for Fancy Gym, the temple of fitness that used to be my second home before I moved across the Forth for love. We went along to Body Pump, hosted by Kiwi Vanessa, a.k.a the best instructor in the universe.

Last time I was in her buff and bossy presence was January 2005, during Operation Wedding Dress. She was as fit and strong as ever; I think I counted 50 kilos on her bar for the squats. She corrected my form during that track – my wonky knee wasn’t tracking properly. I can’t believe she noticed me. Woohoo!

I’ve missed Body Pump so much. The plastic clickity-clack of the weights, the ridiculous sense of anticipation during the Warm-up, the mutual nods of agony with your neighbour when the evil Chest track is over. Without thinking I set up my step at my old spot up the back on the left-hand side, right next to the mirror. During 2003 and 2004, most Mondays and Thursdays, I’d keep one eye glued to my reflection, searching for signs of shrinkage.

But most of all I’d missed the motivational banter, and Vanessa did not disappoint.

"PAIN IS TEMPORARY!" she bellowed as we grunted through the Shoulder track, "BUT FAILURE IS FOREVER!"


Plank_1I have gone plank mental lately! I used to hate the plank, but now I lurve the plank. Embracing my inner sulky six-year-old, I hated planks purely because I couldn’t do them. WAH.

We did a lot of planks in my old pilates class and I truly stank. My arms would give out and I’d dive to the carpet. But for the past few weeks I’ve been tacking on this wee six-minute plank segment every couple of days. On-your-elbows planks, straight arm planks and reverse planks that you seem to hold forever. In my case it was about five seconds. But suddenly on Friday, I could doooo the bastard planks! I kept up with Cathe and held ’em all for the entire time. I even chucked in some side planks at the end for added torture.

I’m a big fan of weight training but I’m trying to do more stuff with my own bodyweight. After all, it’s a heavy ol’ body! There’s plenty there to resist without always needing to drag out the dumbbells. I like the look of this crazy 7-Minute Weight Loss Circuit, as Marla has been doing of late. The Mountain Climbers and lunges would be too dodgy for my knee but there’s some good ideas there.

. . .

When I started my lard-busting caper in 2001, one of my motivations to get smaller was to one day possess a decent wardrobe, free of polyester and appliqued kittens. But despite dropping many sizes I have yet to get adventurous. I’ve been awed by blogging comrades like Kathryn, Phil and YP who’ve swathed their saucy slenderised selves in all manner of foxy frocks. I just can’t seem to get the nerve to do this myself. All I’ve done for the past six years is buy jeans and plain tops in the next size down. Just look at my progress pictures; I just keep downsizing the same bloody uniform!

Laziness and tight-waddery are a factor, but cluelessness has much to do with it. I went straight from being a little kid when your Mum picks your clothes to being a Large Adult with no choice but the trusty Uniform. Now that I’m finally spoiled for choice I’m not good with the choosing.

All I know is that I want to feel more girly, while I am still actually reasonably girly. I am nearly 30 years old and have never worn a dress aside from my weddings. I am so entrenched in my jeans-and-top uniform that my mother-in-law was worried that I’d get married in them. Ha! So the other day I went KA-RAZY and bought a frock. It’s a bit plain but I figure I have to start somewhere, eh? (Here’s a pic Megarack but my camera’s colour has gone wonky. Stupid shoes for demo purposes only. And transparent legs = four years in Scotland!)

I think I am ready to have some fun with clothes. It’s just fabric after all; it can’t bite you. I am a sucker for 10 Years Younger and all those makeover programmes; I wonder what it would be like to wear knee-high boots or crazy jewelery or a colourful belt. I’ve never owned a belt. I always had my guts to hold my trousers up, after all!

Maybe this summer I will go radical and buy some clothes with actual colour! Maybe a pattern! Maybe a skirt or two! All the possibilities make me nauseous, but I don’t see the point in busting all this blubber if I’m not going to enjoy it.

. . .

I am cuckoo for tofu lately. Never used to like the stuff, unless it was microscopic cubes floating in a bowl of miso soup. But we needed some protein variation in our pseudo-veggie household so I thought I’d give it a go. I consulted the trusty Leith’s Vegetarian Bible (tip top wedding pressie from Sandra!) and found a stir-fry recipe.

You chop the tofu into cubes and marinate it for twenty minutes in soy sauce, garlic, lime juice with a dash of honey and sesame oil. Then you drain it, reserving the juicy goodness. You put the cubes on a tray then zap ’em in a hot oven for 20 minutes til they’re nice and golden.

I just stir-fried a bunch of green things from the fridge (broccoli, snow peas [mange tout to the brits], green beans, swiss chard [or some leafy thing, never can tell what’s what], green pepper [capsicum to the Aussies]) with a handful of frozen edamame and the leftover saucy stuff. Then plonked the crispy tofu on top to serve.

It was very green, but bloody beautiful and wholesome to the MAX! Total tofu convert now. Tofurkey for Xmas 2007!

The Doctor Is Out

I’m obsessed with stability ball pikes, or rather my complete inability to do them! Check out this handy video to see what I’m on about.

That nubile wench Cathe Friedrich manages to get into a completely vertical position, toes on the ball and butt in line with the hands. Then does twenty perfect repetitions. Me? I can just manage to pull my ankles onto the ball before dive-bombing onto my nose.

The whole move feels totally wrong, but I think that’s what I like about it. I like feeling awkward and clumsy. I spent so many years trying to keep my large body as still as possible, so not to disturb anyone with my wobbly presence. Shuffling from the fridge to the couch to the bed to car to the job to the drive-thru — that was about the extent of my movements. These days I want to make up for lost time and arrange my body into complicated positions (stop snickering). Upside down, underwater, backwards, sideways, one hand, no hands.

I used to stay still because I didn’t want to look ridiculous but now I just want to move, and the more ridiculous it looks the better.

. . .

Watch Your Portions Week went well! There was an initial mourning period as to just how puny a proper portion of rice looks, but I’m used it now. Sniff.

This week is Listen To Your Guts Week, in which I aim to teach myself to Stop Look And Listen before eating. Am I actually hungry or just bored or cranky? You’d think I’d have mastered all these basic concepts by now, but I reckon everyone can do with a refresher course now and then.

. . .

For the dear soul who came here searching for "dr gillian mckeith perfect poo chart", I urge you to check out this cracking article in today’s Guardian: "Doctor" Gillian McKeith – A Menace To Science. Thanks everyone who pointed it out!

Raising Hell

My fellow Americans! Or rather, people who read this site who are Americans!

I stayed up late last night watching your Superbowl thingy, in an attempt at cross-cultural understanding. I must say I am more baffled than ever. There seems to be ten dozen people on the field at once, and they only jig about for a minute before everything stops again. I calculated at that rate of action half time would be about 3AM my time. So I had to go to bed. I only just found out that Prince was the half-time spectacle. PRINCE! With a cleaning lady headscarf! I’m gutted to have missed that.

Meanwhile in the UK the Six Nations has started, with not a shoulder pad nor a Billy Joel in sight. Just poor Scotland being destroyed by England, no thanks to the return of that that prodigious bastard Jonny Wilkinson. As he kicked goal after goal, all I could do was bitch at the telly, "Why’s he doing that crouching-toilet-praying-yoga pose? STAND UP STRAIGHT, dammit!".


No doubt I was just cranky as it was the third day in a row that I, coincidentally, could not stand up straight. Earlier in the week I’d done a killer lower body workout that included calf raises. It sounded innocent enough – standing on the step on my tippy-toes and going up and down 100000 times. The next day I rolled out of bed and discovered a world of pain. My calves were mooing, as Maggie would say. I could not straighten my legs. I had to stagger around the house in the above Jonny Wilkinson semi-squat, with Gareth behind me cackling, "Get a move on, Granny!".

It was a full five minutes before I could rise to my full height. Ahh the agony. The sweet, delicious muscular agony! Those calf raises better have done good things for my chubby legs or ELSE. Today’s the first day I’ve been able to rise from a chair at normal speed!

You know, I’m sorry these entries have been so breezy lately. So flippant; so What I Ate For Breakfast, if you will. I do have more profound and thoughtful things to say but haven’t sat down to write them out properly as I’ve been a wee bit busy. I’ll get onto it quick sticks.

Apart from the screaming calves, I’ve been enjoying that Arc Trainer thingy (thanks for your thoughts on that one, by the way) and enjoying long winter walks in the great outdoors (thanks Global Warming!).  I’m also celebrating the return of the kohlrabi to the vegie box delivery, and the mysterious disappearance of AN INCH from each hip, waist and bust in the past two weeks. HURRAH! My jeans are no longer strangling my internal organs! I call that progress.

Disastrous Thighs

I was walking along the beach, or more like waddling along the beach because the sand seemed so thick and heavy I could barely lift my legs up and down. I was hot and uncomfortable as it was, but then I had to walk past a bunch of tanned and buff blokes who were posing on their towels.

"I spy with my little eye," said one of them, smirking at me as he took a sip of beer, "A pair of disastrous thighs!"

"Disastrous thighs!" I sputtered to Gareth, as I awoke from this seaside dream. "Can you believe that? What a bastard!"

"Why disastrous thighs?"

"I dunno, I think it was meant to rhyme with eye. Anyway, he was having a go at my thighs!"

"Hmmm. Looks like you’re paranoid about your legs on a sub-conscious level!"

Could be, Fred. I feel so content with the ol body these days, but perhaps deep down I’m convinced that is only because I’m no longer living in Australia where you have to display your pale, blubbery pins for three quarters of the year unless you want to die of heat exhaustion. THANK GOODNESS I live in Britain where it’s almost winter and this is the view from your window at 4 o’clock in the afternoon:

the view

I’m not going to leave the house at all, let alone leave the house in an outfit that would reveal any ghostly flesh.

. . .

Does anyone remember Operation Push-Up? I made it a new year’s resolution to build up to proper push ups on my toes (aka "Man" Push Ups… snort!). In January I could do half of one, which was really more like a direct belly-whacker into the carpet when my arms collapsed. I managed to get up to two in May before I had to abandon the mission when I injured my neck/shoulder and had all that physiotherapy. Grrr.

Since I got the all-clear in July, I’ve slowly been rebuilding my upper body strength. It’s only been the past ten weeks that I’ve consistently managed two proper UB weights sessions per week. And I’m finally seeing some results! I read Krista’s Mistressing The Pushup advice, and started with push ups on the wall, then kitchen counter. Because my knees can’t stand any pressure on them, I had to skip the next stage altogether – knee push ups. So I’ve just been doing one or two wobbly full bodies then gone back to my trusty wall.

Today I was doing my Pyramid Upper Body DVD and the warm-up called for knee push ups. "RAH! I told you before, I can’t do those!" I yelled at the laptop. Instead of watching Cathe with my hands on my hips I decided to try as many as I could on my toes. And I managed eight! Slowly! With good form! WOOHOO! I couldn’t bloody believe it!

Okay, it’s hardly enough to get me into the army but it’s a helluva lot better than my previous zero. If I ever get to the stage where I can actually Drop And Give You Twenty, I will make a movie and upload it for you all to marvel and/or snigger at my sheer athleticism. Mwahaha.

System Status

Going For Gold Status Report! Things are going well this week. I have been feeling completely overwhelmed by things lately so taking it One Meal At A Time seems to be helping.

My swimming teacher had to cancel last night and I contemplated crawling into bed with a book. But I did Cathe’s Pyramid Upper Body instead. The woman is not paying me to say this, but her goods work well for me coz it’s the bossiness of a Body Pump class without having to leave the house and your crappy breakfast-encrusted t-shirt. PUB is my Lazy Day DVD because it only uses dumbbells – I just reach right under the bed for em. As opposed to workouts that use the barbell, which involves moving furniture and futzing around changing the plates. You have to be in the right mood for that sort of palaver!

So it’s lazy, but it’s hard. You start with 12 reps at the lightest weight, then 10 with medium, 8 with your heaviest, then work your way back down through the pyramid. Its very fast, simple and efficient. You just whip through each body part – chest, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps – and before you know it you’re a crumpled, whimpering heap on the bedroom floor. But then you have to recover for the abs section.

I only did the 30-minute Pyramid Up last night, but I think when you feeling out of sorts it’s better to do something, anything, exercise-y, rather than sit on your arse. I have to keep the momentum going and keep moving forward. Pow!

I also wanted to say cheers for all the lovely comments and emails of late, they are soooo appreciated. Thank you. Thank you…

A lot of people have mentioned deep-water running, would anyone mind saying a bit more about that? Google is rather vague. My gym only has Old Lady Aqua classes on weekday mornings, obviously nae good to me; so is this something I could pursue on my own?

Hope you all have a tops weekend 🙂

Heavy Metal

Grunt! Urrgh! Mrrrgh! Oof! KAPOW!

I’ve been a complete stressmonkey this week, and had almost convinced myself that hit of Green & Blacks was the answer. But on Thursday night I spied my dumbell collection under the bed, all lined up in a neat silvery row. They were calling out, Remember us?

Weights are my favourite exercise when I’m crabbit. I like the routine of dragging out Reebok step, tying my greasy locks into ponytails, placing all the dumbells in numerical order, closing the blinds and cranking up the DVD on the laptop. All that organising has a soothing effect!

I’m still on my Cathe Friedrich kick. Since I hurt my knee I haven’t been able to do Body Pump classes at the gym, as squats and lunges are agony. So I stick to Cathe’s upper body DVD’s. The moves are gruelling, but her all-American winning smile never wavers. She’s motivating without being nauseating.

And just like my beloved Body Pump classes, Cathe bosses me around and tells me exactly what to do. I am lazy, people! All I have to do is Obey Cathe and I’m guaranteed to wind up in limb-trembling agony without any thought on my part.

I don’t even mind that I’ve done the tapes so many times that I know what’s coming. I still feel a wee internal woohoo every time she grins, "We’ve got a TOUGH workout ahead of us today, are you ready?".

Sometimes I’ll chirp back at the screen in an unconvincing American accent, "I’m TOTALLY ready Cathe!"

Thursday was Chest and Triceps. First up was the dreaded dropset of 72 pushups, which I am still doing wall-style (a tip from Marla!). After that it’s bench presses and flys. Then you remove the risers from one side of your step so you can do incline presses and flys.

The incline was when I became aware that all the stress had somehow evaporated from my body. All the crap I’d been panicking about all week suddenly seemed a lot less important. If I hadn’t been pinned down by 15 kilos of metal, I would have slid off the step in a blissful puddle. There’s something about the repetitve grunt of the movements that clears my mind; the simplicity of lifting those dinky dumbbells up and down. Many people complain weights are boring, but I like them because they’re boring. Once you know what you’re doing and what muscles are meant to be screaming, you can just switch off your brain. You are free to daydream of bunnies or shoes or sushi while your body sings along without you.

"You did a GREAT JOB!"  Cathe cheered, 45 minutes later. As she always does. "I’ll see you NEXT TIME!".

I felt completely relaxed and rebooted. Lately I’ve been distracted and antsy, so exercise had fallen by the wayside for almost two weeks. I’d almost forgotten I had a body; I was just a nervous, blobby brain floating round aimlessly. But now mind and body were hooked up again and I could get on with things. I love you, exercise. Let’s never fight again.

I emerged from the Bedroom Gym red-faced and stinky. Gareth enquired with a twang, "How was your TOUGH WORKOUT?"

"Cathe said I did a GREAT JOB!"

"Will she see you NEXT TIME?"

"Oh yes."

I’ll crack on with Back, Biceps and Shoulders today. Huzzah!

Hope you’re having a GREAT weekend. I’ll see you NEXT TIME.

The Potato With Eyes

A few months ago I was at the Barn for a Body Pump class. There were two instructors up on the stage. I’m not sure why they have two. Maybe it’s so one person can walk round the class helping people while the other teachers. Or maybe it’s because when you’re teaching a class in a basketball court, you so get exhausted from shouting to make yourself heard that it’s nice to swap the microphone with the other instructor halfway through.

There were a lot of new people that night. And it’s always the same story. Bad form ahoy! Wonky squats, swinging bicep curls, awkward lunges. I remember the first time I did Pump in 2001. I knew diddly squat about squats. It’s a crazy new world in there! Now I watch people wrestle with the bar and squint at the stage, trying to absorb so much new information. I want to run over and say, “Don’t give up, pet! It gets better!”

On this occasion there was one woman doing a particularly unusual interpretation of a squat. As the track went on, I saw Instructor 1 (who was on the mike) glance at Instructor 2, nod their head towards Wayward Squatter then grin. I2 looked and smiled. And so it went on for another few minutes. Nod. Grin.

Then Instructor 1 actually rolled its eyes. I2 shook its head with a hint of exasperation then decided to step in. In the most un-freaking-subtle way possible. I2 threw the bar down with a mighty clang that echoed round the court, jumped off the stage and ran over. I2 stood beside the Squatter and demonstrated the correct form.

Maybe I am just an oversensitive fatass, but I found myself getting rather angry and defensive on the Squatter’s behalf. Sure, the instructor was nice to help her out, but crikey! Every single person was staring, trying to be casual about it as they sank deep into their bottom-half squats. The Squatter was clearly flustered, and the more I2 corrected her, the more she’d fluff it up.

I remember the first time I rocked up to a group class; all the fretting I’d done about even turning up; how fragile my resolve was. I was just looking for confirmation of my fears that I shouldn’t be there, that I didn’t belong. I already feel like an idiot simply for daring to be in the same room as these nubile regulars, resplendent in my baggy trackpants and oversize t-shirt. I recall looking in the mirrors and thinking very specifically that I looked like a potato.  A potato with eyes, standing in a sea of celery stalks.

So if my instructor had done the eye-rolling, half-smirking, dramatic bar-throwdown thing with me, I would have slunk out the door and never come back.

I just wanted to yell at them, where’s your empathy? Isn’t fitness meant to be for everyone? You may not be able to relate to the Squatter’s overweight body, but haven’t you ever been crap at something before? Were you ever a beginner or did you emerge with those muscles straight from the womb?

I am hyperconscious of not forgetting what it feels like to be right at the start of a lard-busting journey. It would be all too easy to be smug, arrogant or complacent. It is possible to be proud of your own achievements without sneering at the efforts of others. Especially since we’re all just a few skipped workouts and a bag of cookies away from being there again.

(The Wayward Squatter never came back.)

. . .

I ranted about the above to the Scottish Companion months ago when it happened – I bet he thought I’d let it go by now! No way, mate! You know I just use you to test out my material before I write it on here. Hehehe.

. . .

So I lost 0.9kg (2lb) this week. Woohoo! That’s 75.7 kilos (168.8lb) gone in total. “You’ve lost a whole me!”, said the Scottish Companion. How bizarre.

This new softly softly approach feels so much better. There’s balance. No extremes or denial. I ate the 0% fat yogurt and the sunflower seeds but I also factored in the three slightly stale Mint Slice biscuits (brought all the way back from Oz by a good mate). Softly, softly!

Push It Real Good

Yesterday was the first class of Push Up 101 with the Scottish Companion. It wasn’t really a formal lesson as such. Just me attempting to do a push up on the living room floor. Then him telling me that my bum was sticking in the air and my hands were in the wrong spot. Then me screaming, "Yes, WELL, I don’t know HOW to do them properly so if you could just TELL me how do them, NO DON’T SHOW ME, I could watch you do push ups all day and not learn anything!". Then him patiently explaining that my hands in the wrong positon; then me doing one very creaky, not-very-deep full push up before collapsing face first into the carpet.

Push Up Count for 2006 = 0.5

It can only get better from here.

. . .

Cheers for the positive response to the last entry, especially the idea of the healthy food blog. Now begins the typically long and tedious process of designing the blog templates and getting it all perfect before I even write a single thing. My goal is to have it up and running by the end of January. I’m currently fussing over a name for the new baby. It was much easier coming up with names for my other blogs:

  • What’s New Pussycat had humble beginnings as a What’s New page for an old personal homepage, so it was a simple and unimaginative matter of adding "Pussycat" to the end of it.
  • The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl started out as pure sarcasm: like my latest attempt to lose weight would be So Amazing, YEAH RIGHT! Also, I had a hilarious image in my head of myself in a lyrca bodysuit, attempting to fly off the couch (complete with cape, and mask to cleverly conceal identity on the big bad internet).

So I want something concise, catchy and not too obvious. No puns allowed. I don’t want it have the word "blog" in it either, nor any of the following: food, cooking, kitchen, eating, healthy, chow, fare, fayre, gourmet, delicious, fresh, pig trotters.

I thought of simply calling it Ginger. Because ginger is fresh, healthy and easy to spell. Also because Ginger is what British people called redheads, and I am a redhead. It makes sense to me, anyway.

The Scottish Companion suggested a few variations: Ginger Beer, Gingerbread, Ginger Cream, Ginger Snap or Ginger Root. I rejected the lot of them, despite his fierce lobbying for Ginger Root, "Come ON! The Australians will love it!".

I’ve also considered calling it Mrs Feta. This was the title of the Dietgirl entry in which I declared, "I freaking LOVE feta and would leave SC and marry feta if it was socially acceptable.". I thought that might be a good title, as I do indeed freaking love feta cheese. Plus it’s wholesome and relatively healthy, which is what the blog will be about – wholesomness and relative health 😉 And I like the idea of Mrs Feta as another wee persona to play with, a la Pussycat and Dietgirl.

So what do you reckon? Ginger or Mrs Feta? Or something else altogether. Do you have any ideas? Please don’t say Ginger Root because that is not an option!

DIY Body Pump

A piddling 0.2 kg loss this week. I was going to get all pouty that the scale isn't reflecting my efforts but then I realised my efforts weren't that great on some fronts. We went Up North for the weekend, stayed in a B&B and went out for dinner; then indulged in that grand tradition of the Full Scottish Breakfast (bacon, eggs, sausage, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms – but no black pudding for me). Then Monday night because we still had the hire car we drove out to Anstruther to reputedly the Best Fish And Chips in Scotland, and ate fish suppers by the seaside.

I don't feel one tinge of remorse for all that. Why? Because I just bloody felt like living life last week and not fretting over weight loss targets. There was sun in the sky for once, we had a car for once and neither of us were busy for once; so we took full advantage of it.

I still did all my exercise (walking to work, two Body Pumps, three running sessions and a yoga DVD) so I was at least keeping up the exercise. Last night I tried on my wedding dress since it was our Two Months Anniversary, and I am pleased to report that I can now zip it up ALL BY MYSELF! Two months ago it was a fifteen minute two-man job with lots of swearing and sucking in of stomachs. It fits so much better now, especially around the hips and thighs. Looks like Mistress Julia's running regime is helping with the lard removal!

There were so many trains of thought sparked by your reactions to last entry that I don't know where to begin. Thanks for your responses! Some of you were apologising for hijacking the comments or cluttering up my inbox; this is never the case. These kinds of discussions are invaluable. Not only do we get comfort from knowing we're not alone in feeling this way, it also helps us to see things in different ways and to consider other people's ideas. Then perhaps what you thought was an overwhelming or scary issue can seem a lot more managable.

I guess what I learned most from it all that it has taken time to change my body that it's only natural that the mind will take time to adjust. Best of all I feel like I am well on my way – it's just those PMS days that it can all seem too much.

Rosemary Grace asked if I thought it was harder to adjust to "normality" than it was to take on the journey to get there. In some ways I do, because this Adjustment Phase I'm in is all mental and emotional, whereas my focus in the Journey Phase was more physical.

If you think right back to before the Journey started, ie joining Weight Watchers in 2000, I'd just come through a few years of bad depression as well as some intense family dramas – a phase of life where it was all about emotional/mental work. So it was great to launch into WW and focus on a practical task. For the past four-and-a-bit years I've tinkered away at my health and fitness – changing the way I eat, learning to move my butt, buying skinner clothes, etc etc etc. It's been a very practical, absorbing project that required me to learn a new way of life.

That's not to say the Journey part hasn't brought emotional changes, lord knows I have written enough about that. But for the most part I've been able to put my brain on hold. And once I'd learned what to do with my food and exercise, my life got bloody busy with this crazy run of gigantic, life-altering changes – two years of travel, working two crazy jobs, falling in love, getting married in a big freaking hurry. Sooooooooo, for the first time in yonks I actually have time to reflect on what all this physical change has done to my head. Finally talking about this stuff to the Scottish Companion has dredged up the muck in my brain so now I think it's time to deal with it.

Anyway, that's enough Dr Phil for one day. What else has been happening? We bought a set of weights for home. Just some cheapie dumbbells and a barbell from Argos. There's only a couple of Body Pump classes per week that I can make at my new gym, and it's even more difficult with my running schedule. Plus I have been trying to sell SC on the amazing wonders of resistance training. He refused to try a Pump class with me, saying the music was too poncy. So the weights at home were the compromise.

Being a sad Body Pump geek, I came up with the ultra-geeky idea of downloading some BodyPump songs and putting them on my iPod Shuffle so I could make my own Body Pump class at home! I googled like mad til I found this blog that is actually devoted to Body Pump songs of yesteryear. Don't you just love the internet? It is a sanctuary for every kind of geek there is. So I spent HOURS there last Tuesday reading up on all the cheesy techno songs and cooing "oooh I remember that Lunge track! Sweeeeeet!". Then I went crazy on iTunes, downloading songs and assigning them categories (Abs, Shoulders, Chest, Squats, etc etc etc), then making playlists for my very own Pump class.

Thursday night I got out the weights and hung the Shuffle round my neck. It was simultaneously thrilling and Really Freaking Sad that I could remember the moves for an entire eleven-track "class". I just churned through like a robot, knowing exactly when to do single squats or bottom half or super slow; remember which triceps bits used the barbell and which bits were plates or pushups. And some of the songs were ancient, like from 2001 when I did my first Pump class as a 120 kilo lass. It was awkward maneuvering the barbell in our tiny bedroom, and I used a camping mat in lieu of a Reebok step for the chest and triceps. The only dodgy bit was during the Chest track, when I pushed the bar up for the Clean and Press, it got caught underneath the neckcord of the iPod, donking my forehead and flipping it up over my head, wrenching out the earphones. After that I put the iPod under my t-shirt so it couldn't move. Overall it was just as an effective workout than if I'd been at the gym, with a bonus geekgasm element.

UPDATE – October 2005 – Hello Google visitors and emaillers! Sadly there is no such thing as a Body Pump DVD. The only way to do Body Pump is to find a gym that holds the class. Check the Les Mills website to search in your area. If you read this entry you will see that I simply had downloaded some of the songs and did the moves from memory in my living room. This is in no way affilliated with Les Mills International.

There are many home fitness DVDs available that incorporate similiar resistance training into the workouts – try FitPrime, The Firm or Cathe.